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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Banned Books - Rodems: Evaluation

Writing the Assessment

Evaluation (full instructions)

Due Date: Thursday/Friday February 16, 17 by the end of your class period to your Illinois.publish work page.

Your Audience: Your classmates, parents, me, and the public.

Your Purpose: Argue for the validity or invalidity of the arguments against the book which are the arguments for banning the book. You are stating your reasoned opinion of the book’s challenge/ban. You have researched the issues involved with your book. You have read it yourself to form your own opinion. In the evaluation, you share your expertise. 

Evaluation Required Content:

    1. Summary of the Novel: The idea here is to illustrate to the reader you know the book well enough to tell them the important plot elements they would need in order to understand your evaluation. The summary portion of the evaluation should not be more than one paragraph. Consider which details the reader will need to know in order to follow your upcoming evaluation.

    1. Challenge Information: Provide detailed information about who, when, where, why, and how the book has been challenged or banned. Follow the challenges by researching through the databases, in particular the newspaper articles, to find primary sources discussing the challenges. Most of you will be able to find this information.

    1. Your Argument: You judge the validity of the arguments against it and the quality of the book. You will need to support your argument for both the quality of the book and the validity of the arguments.

      1. Thesis Statement: Your educated and reasoned opinion of the book should be the THESIS STATEMENT in addition to whether you agree or disagree with the challenge. You should ultimately make a claim about whether the good parts of the novel outweigh the bad, the bad outweighs the good, or somewhere in between those two ideas.  

      1. Position on the Challenge: Directly respond to the book’s challenges. Do you agree with the challenge? Why or why not? Are there portions of the challenge you agree with? Why or why not? Why should readers be able to read this book, or why should they be prevented from reading the book? What might they gain or not gain from reading the book or not reading the book? If relevant, consider our discussions of theFreedom to Read Statement.”

      1. Quality of the Book: You will offer your educated and reasoned opinion of the book’s quality: is it entertaining and enjoyable to read—why or why not? You should speak to what the book has to offer – or does not have to offer. Use your knowledge of literary elements as well as your understanding of the value – or lack of – the book. What makes this book valuable?  You can certainly write about developed characters and an interesting plot, but you should also discuss what this book have to offer it’s audiences.

        1. You should support your opinion of the quality by using the credible opinions of others. You will draw upon outside sources such as literary criticism and published book reviews. Use what materials you can to convince the reader. You could use comments from newspaper articles, Novelist, Literature Resource Center, or other published book reviews from newspapers. 

      1. Counter Argument: At some point in the evaluation, you should directly present the counterargument to your position. In this portion of the evaluation, you should write about the following: what do you think is motivating the challengers or the supporters of the novel? Try to both explain and understand their perspective. What do they hope to gain from having the book removed or kept on the shelf? Can you relate to their perspective? **Then you then must respond to this counterargument with a rebuttal with evidence and explanation. Ex: However, while this position is….it ultimately…

    1. You are required to support your evaluation with sources you find on the library class project page.

        1. Acceptable sources to use: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Hitlist, Banned Books Reference Series, Newsbank, Lexis Nexis, ProQuest, Novelist, and the Literature Resource Center. **If you are unable to find sources through these options, YOU MUST talk to Ms. Arnold or me before seeking out other resources. NO EXCEPTIONS.   

Format: Formal, double spaced, regular 12-point font, MLA format. The evaluation does not need a traditional introduction and conclusion (although it could include them)­­­­; however, it does need a thesis statement that makes a claim about the value of the book.  

Length: 3-5 pages

Documentation: The use of outside sources means the evaluation must have documentation. Use MLA format, in-text documentation, and include a “Works Cited” page at the end that meets MLA standards. Give the evaluation an original title and use the MLA heading.